News: Network Integration Evaluation 13.2 provides realistic combat training
Story by Sgt. Todd Robinson
DONA ANA BASE CAMP, N.M. - Soldiers with Company A, 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division, trained using the new Tactical Communications and Protective System or TCAPS near Dona Ana Base Camp this week.
The training was part of Network Integration Evaluation 13.2 and combined infantry, armor and air assets in one training platform to evaluate several new systems the Army may use in the future.
Using seven or eight artillery simulators, the observer controllers began the latest evaluation of the soldiers and their equipment.
“We took simulated indirect fire as part of a training exercise,” said Pfc. Derek Haas from Reno, Nev., a grenadier with Company A, 1-6th Infantry. “A bunch of incoming came in, as soon as the first one came it we get in our gear, then four or five more came in and we hit the deck until they stopped. Once the indirect fire ended we went to our positions and waited for the enemy to attack.”
Within seconds the unit was under heavy indirect fire. As soon as the attack ended, soldiers took up positions pulling security, treating mock injuries and called a medevac to take simulated wounded soldiers to a field hospital. During this time the perimeter security waited it out to see if the enemy would press the attack further.
“The training is as realistic as you can get, and they are trying to make it as close to a deployment as possible. Some of what we do as well as the knowledge gained from those who deployed is very helpful,” said Haas.
TCAPS is hearing protection that plugs into other communications equipment. It cuts out high decibel noise while providing an individual soldier increased situational awareness by allowing him or her to receive radio transmissions and data from the Rifleman Radio a portion of the Nett Warrior system.
The Nett Warrior is a combination of Rifleman Radio and an end user device - similar to a smart phone that helps the individual soldier make accurate decisions by connecting him or her to a network though the radio, improving situational awareness and making the soldier more effective and increases survivability in the execution of combat missions through the user device.
Earlier, Company B, 1-6 infantry, and aviation assets from the 3rd Brigade, 101st Aviation Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, Ky., supported the armored battalion as they moved through a simulated battlefield.
“We set up blocking positions along the route with our Bradleys,” said Spc. Nathaniel Arnold, team leader, with Company A, 1-6th Infantry. “We were defending the roads to the north and south so the battalion could get through.”
The area was heavily occupied by soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 77th Armored Regiment, 4th Brigade, 1st Armored Division. These soldiers acted as both aggressors (OPFOR) and refugees on the battlefield.
“It’s not everyday you can go out and work with tanks, Bradleys and AH-64 Apaches,” said Arnold. “The whole point of this training is to get the soldier trained, get him down range and back home alive.”
NIE 13.2 is a month long event, during this time soldiers use the equipment in a simulated combat environment, and through this usage the soldiers make recommendations for possible future upgrades to the systems evaluated.